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Vox for Skype

Montreal based VoxLib took the wraps off their Vox for Skype application today.  This little number gives you access to Skype from any mobile phone, anywhere, without having to install any software on the telephone. It gives you the ability to see which of your Skype buddies is online,  the ability to contact them, and the ability to call any phone number using Skype. 

Vox has two modes:

  1. Skype-In mode is for Skype users who have a Skype-In number.  You simply call your own Skype-In number, and interact with the Skype running on your desktop, using DTMF tones from the cell phone keypad.
  2. SMS mode is for Skype users who don’t have a Skype-In number — like all of us deprived Canucks living here in the great white north.  To use Vox, you send an SMS message to the VOX server, specifying either the name of the person you want to reach, or the PSTN number you want to reach.  Or, you can query it, and receive a list of who is currently available on Skype.

My initial reaction was to say that it would make more sense to have a client on the handset, the way that EQO has built their system.  However, after a brief chat with VoxLib CEO Stephane Marceau last week, I understood the logic of their choice to use SMS or Skype-In.  Marceau explained that their goal was to ensure that Vox was usable by any Skype user, not just users of specific handsets.  He cited statistics showing that the number of people who have downloaded and installed software on handsets is a tiny percentage of cellular telephone users, whereas everyone today has an SMS capable phone.  Moreover, who hasn’t interacted with an IVR at some point?

It’s a clever idea.  My one complaint is that it requires me to leave Skype turned on in “chat with anyone” mode, rather than “only chat with people in my buddylist” mode.  Although it’s the default, I turned “chat with anyone” off a loang time ago when I became inundated in chat requests. 

Available for download today at www.voxlib.com

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